THEY were mown down like human skittles in a bowling alley by a driver who lost his temper and saw red.
A group of friends celebrating a birthday had spilled out of a nightclub and on to the pavement as they considered where to continue their party.
But driver Mahibur Rahman "lost it" when he couldn't get past them on the road and he hit the accelerator - smashing in to seven people who were thrown across the bonnet or into the road.
Southampton Crown Court heard how in scenes more akin to computer game Grand Theft Auto, his innocent young victims were "scattered" by the force of the impact, with one of the group just inches from having his head ran over by the wheels.
The shocking incident was captured on CCTV cameras and drew gasps from jurors and the public gallery who could not believe what they we seeing.
The injured included one party goer who was left lying unconscious in the road and a bouncer, who had stepped in to try and stop the car, needing life changing reconstructive surgery when Rahman drove straight over him.
He then sped off from the scene in Carlton Place towards Southampton Common as his best friend Alex Stanek swore at him and begged him to stop.
Judge Gary Burrell described the events of the early hours of March 15 last year as "absolutely horrific" adding that it was a miracle nobody was killed by Rahman's "ridiculously dangerous driving".
The court heard how Rahman, who worked in IT for a large Hampshire firm, was driving his £16,000 silver BMW automatic into the city centre just after midnight when the dramatic events unfolded.
He and Mr Stanek had spent the evening in The Hobbit and Jesters and were heading to city nightspot Popworld, attempting to find somewhere to park, when the crowd came out of the door to The Penthouse bar.
The footage shows the headlights of Rahman's car as he approached close to the group but his path was blocked.
PICTURED: Mahibur Rahman
Victim Jordan Jefferies, whose birthday they had been celebrating, then appeared to kick out at the car in what police said was a way to get it to move away from his friends.
But within split seconds, while his back was turned, Rahman accelerated - sending the six friends and doorman Michael Penn into the air or onto the ground.
Rahman then drove off, his car captured on cameras dangerously overtaking two other vehicles that had slowed at a pedestrian crossing on Carlton Road close to the junction with Milton Road, before he stopped in a car park near Southampton Common.
Police told how there was a flurry of 999 calls from horrified members of the public while people at the scene ran to get help from officers who were nearby.
A large stretch of the road was cordoned off as multiple ambulances arrived to treat the injured and take them to hospital around 12.30am.
Forensics teams worked throughout the night at the scene while revellers coming out of local bars were shepherded away from the area after initial fears the condition of some was life threatening.
Rahman, meanwhile, had also called 999 to report an accident and question if he needed to return to the scene because it had been "an accident" and his foot had "slipped" on the pedal. In the passenger seat, Mr Stanek was so shocked he couldn't even speak.
The jury was told how Rahman was arrested and questioned repeatedly by officers during which time his "story became more elaborate" said Detective Sergeant Amanda Wilson.
Giving evidence during the trial, Mr Stanek took the stand to tell the court he had been asked by Rahman - who he had been friends with since school - to back up his story that his foot had slipped, but that was a lie.
He added that Rahman's temperament had been badly affected by his deteriorating condition of ulcerative colitis, which he believed had left him depressed.
Rahman himself didn't give evidence in his own defence, but in mitigation the court heard he had made "a grotesque error of judgement" that had "catastrophic consequences".
PICTURED: The scene of the incident in Carlton Place, Southampton
- “IT was a miracle that nobody was killed.”
Those were the words of Judge Gary Burrell QC as he jailed Rahman for six years.
He said: "This was an absolutely horrific incident - you lost your temper, it's as simple as that.
"You deliberately drove in to a crowd of innocent young people, where you were bound to cause them injury - you scattered them on collision.
"It is a wonder no one was killed, but the head of one of those people was very close to the wheel. You could easily have been facing a murder or manslaughter charge.
"Two were quite seriously injured. The other sustained injuries they will always be aware of. It was ridiculously bad driving and they will never forget what happened that night.
"It was hardly surprising there were gasps from the public gallery ..... It does take ones breath away to see what you did."
Judge Burrell told Rahman, from Pointout Road, that he accepted he was a man of previous good character, with no convictions and that it had been a "momentary lapse of judgement" during which he "just lost it" causing "very serious consequences".
PICTURED: CCTV stills of the incident
- ALL seven victims suffered injuries when Rahman ploughed "two tonnes of metal into them" - and each will carry the mental scars of what happened for the rest of their lives.
The court heard how doorman Michael Penn, 37, who substituted his income as a plumber by trade with the extra work, had been unable to work for many months.
He now needs reconstructive surgery on both knees and has been forced to give up his much loved martial arts and sports.
Mr Penn said he had "struggled to cope" but was "truly thankful" to the medics who were helping him to recover.
He said: "I'm just glad that nobody was killed by this persons actions - I thank God for it."
Jordan Jefferies, 22, described how he lived with the guilt of somehow believing that what happened was his fault because he had kicked out. He said: "Some of my friends who I have known since primary school have suffered such lasting injuries."
Tom Bevis, 27, told how he was a sporty person who could no longer enjoy his passion of running and cycling. After injuring his leg he could no longer live alone and had to return to his parents who looked after him.
He said: "Sometimes I wake up thinking my friends had died in the incident."
Lucy Cutler said she was left mentally and physically scarred and her life had changed in so many ways.
The 22-year-old has had metal plates inserted in her ankle and is anxious her jaw she will require further surgery. She missed 70 days of work, couldn't sleep because of the pain she suffered and added: "This horrific night will remain with me forever".
Jack Burgoyne, 24, looked after his girlfriend Lucy following her injury and said the entire incident had placed a "huge strain" on his life. He no longer plays Sunday football or any sports, and has not been able to socialise with friends like he once did.
Josh Blyth, 25, was knocked unconscious and damaged his neck and lower back. A self- employed glazier. he was off sick for a month, had no income and had to use savings and borrow money from family just to survive.
His girlfriend Amy Sidwell, 26, was hurt and felt scared to drive a car, but said she had no choice as she needed to take Josh to many medical appointments. She said what happened put a strain on their relationship and she suffered lack of sleep due to stress and anxiety.
- A JUDGE heaped praise on the detective sergeant who led the investigation to bring Rahman to justice.
Judge Burrell told the court that he commended Det Sgt Amanda Wilson for her "efficient fact finding and evidence gathering" that helped bring the case to court.
Speaking after the verdict, she told the Daily Echo: “The CCTV is probably some of the most shocking I have seen in my 23 years as a police officer.
“The evidence against Mr Rahman was overwhelming from the first day of this investigation.
“His actions have had huge consequences for everyone involved. It really is pure luck that no one was killed.
“Seven people, including a member of door staff sustained injuries, some of which have changed their lives forever.
“Mr Rahman was a decent young man from a nice family. However, his obstinate refusal to take responsibility for what he had done meant that everyone involved has endured an intensely difficult year preparing for this trial.
“Hopefully, that can finally be resolved and everyone can move forward at last.”